Healthcare 2

It’s a damn good thing Mr. Trashcan doesn’t need medical care. Oh, he gets the occasional spot of corrosion, not to mention stubborn stains and films, but he undergoes reincarnation before any of these things become more than an annoyance.
But if he did need medical care, he would be worried. After watching the so called health care reform legislation seep through congress like a toxic spill, he can see the handwriting on the wall. Our system of government not only can’t deal with this problem, it’s going to make it worse.
The American health care “system” is a monster. If you look starkly at what it actually is, it is a group of people who are providing an essential service, possibly the most essential service, and they are testing to find the limit of what other people will pay for this service. They are trying to find out how much you will pay to live and be free from pain. And of course the answer is that you will pay quite a lot. You will pay until you have no more money. If you are poor, you reached this limit long ago and are among those people who show up at the emergency room, then try to stonewall the nice lady in the hospital’s billing department. If you are what used to be called middle class, the monster has entered into your life and warped your decisions and limited your options. It has given you a taste of what it will feel like when you slip down the social scale into poverty.
When you see those graphs that show where the health care monster is heading, of what percentage of our income it will consume in a decade, you can take this as a roadmap for the future. All of the legislative actions that might have actually reigned in the monster, that might have addressed the spiraling price of medial treatment, are either dead or were never even on the table. The measures that are still under discussion all seem to be about getting the monster more food, for example, small companies are already on the verge of dropping their health plans because they can’t bear the costs, so there isn’t much more food there for the monster. But, if we tax these benefits we can take that money and feed it to the monster by giving it to people who are now uninsured, so that they can participate. In a similar vein, we can require all those young, healthy people who aren’t now feeding the monster but do have a little money to participate by buying health insurance.
So it will be business as usual, as we continue to ignore every other civilized country in the world, looking for an “American” solution. I think the best metaphor for our “solution” is the Atlantic cod fishery. They hauled cod out of the water along the Grand Banks until the fishery was destroyed. In Canadian waters, even a decade after their moratorium, the cod have not come back. And that is how it will be with the health care industry. They will continue to milk us all until the economy collapses under their parasitic weight, and then it will be a long time before anyone can even think about health care insurance.